[ppc-mobo] GPL-like hardware design license?

Arandir arandir at meer.net
Tue Oct 5 01:57:38 UTC 1999

On Wed, 31 Dec 1969, jamil Isma'il khatib wrote:
> Hi
> We are in the OpenIP Organization are trying to develope a GPL-like hardware design license.
> It is currently still as a draft and we are about to publish the next draft in the next few weeks, so you are welcomed to give us your comments.
> The license is based on GPL and on the open hardware definition as defined by our organization.
> for more details you can visit our site for the open core project at
> http://www.openip.org/oc

I would consider whether a GPL-like license is even appropriate for a
non-software project. Many of the motivations for creating the GPL (and most
other software licenses) simply do not exist for hardware design. 1) I can test
a bug fix in software for free, but the equivalent in hardware may cost several
hundred dollars. 2) Software can be reproduced near infinitely for
insignificant costs, the same can not be said of hardware. 3) Free software
licenses are based upon the actual code, whereas I *think* that hardware
design is more geared along the lines of circuitry (algorithms) as opposed to
layouts (code). And 4) end users can download open software for free but cannot
do the same with hardware, even if they were proficient enough to build their
own boards it would still be much cheaper to buy them from "closed" vendors.

I'm not criticizing at all your choice to "open source" hardware design, I'm
just questioning whether using a software license as a basis for it will give
you enough utility.


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